Class Warfare Blog

August 14, 2013

Education Reform and State’s Rights: Are Conservatives Asleep at the Switch?

It is shocking how many conservatives are all in favor of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and associated school curricula and testing programs. It was conservatives that got enacted into law* a provision that prevents the U.S. Department of Education from promoting a national curriculum or to for any schools to “be required to have academic content or student academic achievement standards approved or certified by the Federal Government.” Yet the DOE is doing just that by offering large sums of money to states if they will adopt the CCSS and jump through various other hoops.

The joke is that the “state” standards for each and every state are identical to all of the others. These are not state standards, but national standards. Such sophistry wouldn’t fool an eighth-grader.

Conservatives and conservative money is greasing the skids for a federal system of education. I can’t tell whether the conservatives don’t know this or whether it is just another part of their plan to discredit public education in this country.

The campaign to undermine public education in the U.S. is well over 30 years old. It began with efforts to reduce funding to public schools and colleges, resulting in the fees charged to students to skyrocket and now total student educational debt exceeds total credit card debt! The drum beat that “in the future more and more jobs will require college degrees continues, even though all of the data from the last twenty years says exactly the opposite. Rather than encouraging students to go into trades (becoming carpenters, electricians, plumbers, welders, etc.) and ending up in solid well-paid jobs, everyone is being told they have to go to college. At the same time, business are crying that they have millions of jobs available that no one is applying for. The job shortages in the trades are being used as ammunition to get more green card workers admitted to the country who will work for lower wages and will make less fuss because if they lose their green card (which can happen if they were, say, fired) they must leave the country. Again this puts further downward pressure on wages in the trades.

In politics if you want to know what is going on, the rule is “follow the money.” Possibly the money corporations have to make gutting public education trumps the “state’s rights” argument that conservatives usual throw up.

*SEC. 9527. PROHIBITIONS ON FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND USE OF FEDERAL FUNDS.
(a) GENERAL PROHIBITION- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize an officer or employee of the Federal Government to mandate, direct, or control a State, local educational agency, or school’s curriculum, program of instruction, or allocation of State or local resources, or mandate a State or any subdivision thereof to spend any funds or incur any costs not paid for under this Act.
(b) PROHIBITION ON ENDORSEMENT OF CURRICULUM- Notwithstanding any other prohibition of Federal law, no funds provided to the Department under this Act may be used by the Department to endorse, approve, or sanction any curriculum designed to be used in an elementary school or secondary school.
(c) PROHIBITION ON REQUIRING FEDERAL APPROVAL OR CERTIFICATION OF STANDARDS-
(1) IN GENERAL- Notwithstanding any other provision of Federal law, no State shall be required to have academic content or student academic achievement standards approved or certified by the Federal Government, in order to receive assistance under this Act.

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2 Comments »

  1. Good post. Would you care if we re-posted on our blog, centerleft.org? We would give proper credit and permalinks.

    Like

    Comment by Charles Corra — August 14, 2013 @ 11:27 am | Reply


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